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Russia Withdraws Big Bank's Licence

Moscow, July 22 (RFE/RL) -- Russia's Central Bank said today it was revoking the operating licence of a major commercial bank. Central Bank officials said Tveruniversal Bank had run into trouble over real estate deals and securities investment.

Central Bank chairman Sergai Dubinin said in a television interview that "all operations are being stopped."

Just two weeks ago the Central Bank imposed crisis management on Tveruniversalbank, Russia's 17th largest bank.

A crisis of confidence and liquidity hit many Moscow banks last year and some foreign investors say concerns about the banking system are delaying their entry into Russian markets.

Central bank officials say it is inevitable that some of Russia's more than 2,000 active banks -- some of which are little more than curreny exchange operations -- will run into difficulties. They say however that a general banking crisis will be avoided.

Russian equity traders said today's licence withdrawal had not had any impact on the stock market, as it had been expected.